Hello-Fi Rush: The Kotaku Australia Evaluation

For me, enjoying Hello-Fi Rush is like returning to a less complicated time in my life. An period once I was not lengthy out of highschool, and utilizing my very own cash to purchase and play all of the video games I’d coveted however couldn’t afford. It’s a reminder of the GameCube and PS2 period’s biggest flights of fancy, video games that did so much with little or no, however lingered within the reminiscence greater than some a lot heavier hitters.

The DNA of early 2000s video games like Viewtiful Joe, Jet Set Radio, Okami, and Satan Could Cry run in its veins. Anime of the period like FLCL and Beck are clear inspirations. Even the sport’s alt-rock soundtrack, seemingly pulled from the Hottest 100 of 2004, evokes a particular time and place by way of bands like The Prodigy and The Black Keys. It defies all of the style conventions of main video video games from main publishers in 2023. It isn’t an open world, it’s linear and extremely curated. It isn’t filled with mechanics, only a tight choice from which it wrings loads of worth. It doesn’t bore you with lengthy cutscenes, solely taking management from the participant lengthy sufficient to switch it again to you at thrilling and stunning moments.

It has the texture of that particular model of recreation that flew below the radar on the GameCube: bought on sale and owned seemingly simply by you. The sport that you just informed all your folks to play, earlier than it vanished from reminiscence, slowly constructing a cult following on-line, and at last taking its place as a title prized amongst collectors a long time later.

There’s a purpose for that. Masaaki Yamada, the person who designed and in some instances even directed these video games, designed Hello-Fi Rush too. Certainly, loads of the inventive leads concerned in Hello-Fi Rush‘s growth have been round since that period. With that one piece of knowledge borne foremost in thoughts, an excessive amount of what makes Hello-Fi Rush particular instantly falls into place.

Beat ‘Em Up

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Hello-Fi Rush is a third-person rhythm-based arcade brawler a couple of younger man named Chai thrown right into a cartoonish, over-the-top battle with a malignant company filled with anime lunatics. His arm has been changed with a robotic equal, filled with magnets he makes use of to control free steel into the form of a guitar. His coronary heart has been changed with an iPod filled with rock music, and it dictates his circadian rhythms. Chai then makes use of his makeshift guitar to bludgeon his enemies in time to the music blaring in his ears. Music is Hello-Fi Rush‘s literal beating coronary heart. Each assault, parry, and tag-in character transfer you make should be delivered on the beat. In case you’re not terribly good at rhythm video games, or you could have an outdated TV with horrible audio-visual latency, don’t stress. Hello-Fi Rush is surprisingly forgiving on this respect. As it’s within the songs that make up its soundtrack, the beat is propulsive. It’s there to drive you ahead.

Additionally, there’s a boss battle that allow me kick the shit out of an enormous robotic man to ‘1,000,000’ by 9 Inch Nails. I genuinely don’t know what else you need. Prompt recreation of the yr contender. It’s happening the listing.

Fight is unfold between the X, Y, and B buttons in your Xbox controller — X for mild assaults, Y for heavy, and B for parrying. X assaults can be utilized on every beat, whereas Y assaults require a relaxation between beats. B parries are utilized in time with onscreen prompts. There’s a touch button on the proper bumper, and a long-range grapple on the left bumper. As they arrive on board, you possibly can tag in teammates to offer assist assaults. Peppermint fires bullets from her gun that break vitality shields, and Macaron breaks bodily shields with highly effective punches.

With these instruments in hand and the rhythm of every track in your ears, you could have all the things you must remedy any of the sport’s arena-based fight puzzles.

And also you’ll be fixing loads of them. As acknowledged, Hello-Fi Rush follows a linear design that has you shifting from platform sections to fight arenas in sequence. The platforming sections are the place the sport feels most like a product of the yr 2004. Massive, open areas filled with leaping puzzles and shifting platforms that require moderately exact timing to maneuver by way of.

One annoyance that rapidly emerged in these sections was my spoiled 2023 gamer mind insisting that Hello-Fi Rush has a mantle mechanic. I felt like Chai ought to have the flexibility to drag himself onto ledges which might be above him. Hello-Fi Rush doesn’t have mantling although, and it jogged my memory what a forgiving little crutch it has change into in trendy recreation design. Hello-Fi Rush says no. Rise up right here with an eight-foot vertical leap or don’t stand up right here in any respect, you coward. I respect that.

I can’t imagine how good it seems to be

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Picture: Xbox, Bethesda

The opposite aspect of Hello-Fi Rush is its aesthetic. It is a recreation that, by way of what can solely be sorcery, has the appear and feel of an anime in movement. That it accomplishes this in-engine, and with out compromising on it a jot because it flits between gameplay, in-engine cutscenes, and cinematics is a marvel of contemporary recreation design.

After we consider video games or character fashions designed to appear to be anime reveals or characters, we consider video games like Dragon Ball Z Kakarot. Prior to now, Kakarot was the closest I’d ever seen a recreation get to replicating the appear and feel of its supply materials. On the different finish of the spectrum, you could have Fortnite‘s makes an attempt at recreating anime characters within the Unreal Engine. In Fortnite‘s case, the outcomes are very hit-and-miss. Hello-Fi Rush nails its complicated aesthetic on each degree. Fashions are vibrant, and animations are exaggerated and expressive to match the story’s chaotic, cartoonish tone.

When the sport needs to essentially flip it on, it smashes its visuals and its mechanics collectively in methods I’ve by no means seen different video games accomplish. I present folks screenshots they usually say, “that’s an anime,” or “that’s acquired to be from a cinematic,” and I pound the desk and say NO. It’s in-game.


The look is so cleanly unified throughout each type of presentation that it’s sometimes troublesome to identify the transitions. It’s troublesome to explain and outstanding in motion. All the artwork and visible design crew are to be recommended. That is best-in-class stuff.

Sport Cross and the artwork of the shadowdrop

hi-fi rush
Picture: Xbox, Bethesda

Hello-Fi Rush doesn’t occur with out Sport Cross. Of that, I’m sure. There was no advertising and marketing marketing campaign for this recreation. No-one even knew it was coming till the Xbox advertising and marketing machine started to spring leaks within the days forward of the Developer Direct showcase. By the point the showcase ended, it was reside on Sport Cross and accessible for anybody with a subscription to obtain and play.

The shock shadowdrop technique works like gangbusters for Nintendo, so it isn’t a shock to see Xbox do it too.

That’s not the miraculous half, although. The miraculous half is that this recreation acquired made in any respect. To make a recreation like that is to take an enormous threat. It’s so completely different from anything in the marketplace proper now, and from anything that Tango Gameworks has ever made. It’s additionally wildly completely different from something its writer Bethesda has ever produced. However within the incubator of Sport Cross, the danger is lessened for everybody. Bethesda can take a monetary punt, the studio can embark on what’s plainly a ardour undertaking, the platform will get a singular new unique, and the gamers get one thing that correctly blows their hair again. All people wins.

And if it had been topic to the standard advertising and marketing hype machine that guidelines the online game trade, we wouldn’t be speaking about it the identical manner. It could have been bought as one thing it wasn’t, and folks in all probability would contemplate it dated somewhat than a enjoyable and deliberate throwback.

What I’m saying is, I’ve by no means seen a clearer demonstration of the worth inherent in a platform like Sport Cross than Hello-Fi Rush.

Hello-Fi Rush is that this yr’s first, critical must-play. It’s a dazzling throwback to the glory days of GameCube and PS2-era brawlers. It’s a recreation that works each single second to thrill and delight the participant. It’s on PC, it’s on Xbox, and it’s on Sport Cross.

Play it.

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